How to Stay Sane During Your Final Dash to the Holidays
Christmas is days away! Such an exciting time of the year…the weather starts to chill, you want to cuddle up to your loved one or your kiddos, and you are also the most stressed you’ve been since this time last year. I’m writing this with 6 weeks to go until Christmas, and I am already frazzled to a new extreme thinking, “how am I going to get it all done with an infant in tow?” As you know, I’ve done a lot of mindset work on myself, and this is definitely testing me to a new level. I really want this Christmas to be special for our family, and while we will miss dearly our Pop at our Christmas dinner, we have our new bundle of joy. It does seem to happen pretty frequently that when you lose a loved one, another one is around the corner to capture your hearts again.
o to make sure I can enjoy this wonderful holiday season, I’ve created sort of a plan. Remember planning is the basis to fulfilling your dreams whether with money or with your personal life (though money is a part of your personal life whether you want to admit it or not!). I am going through my own checklist of things that breed anxiety in me, and how I am going to deal with them. If I don’t deal with them and just ignore them, then a monster will show up for Christmas dinner instead of me!
To start, it is important to know what are the things that you cannot control. By identifying those, you can stop wasting energy worrying about them. For me, my husband is working the nightshift for Thanksgiving and Christmas day. He’s either worked Christmas day or Christmas night the past 3 years, or every time we’ve hosted Christmas dinner. There is nothing I can do about this, and despite it hurting a little since this is the first Christmas with our baby, it isn’t worth fretting about. Another thing not worth stressing over is all the spilled eggnog from my father when he came in my house last year. Don’t cry over spilled milk or eggnog in this case even if my 8 pound dog is licking up every ounce of spiked eggnog and spent the holiday a little drunk. Crying would have made the accident worse, fussing over it wouldn’t have cleaned it up before Duke drank it all, but laughing over it definitely made it more memorable!
What aspects of your holidays can you pick out and know they will be there no matter what so you will stop worrying about it? Is it your in-laws always stay a little longer than they are welcome? Do you have relatives who are always 3 hours late? Does your mom always pick out the one thing she doesn’t like about your outfit or the meal you just spent all day making? Just know they will be there and move on. It also works with your money. There are times when you just have to accept a circumstance and move forward like paying child support. It can be a huge drain on your money, but you have to pay it, accept this fact and move forward by lowering your other expenses or putting some goals on the back burner for now. Or you have debt and a big debt payment. Accept it and move forward with a plan to pay it off.
Now when it comes to eating dinner, we have to stay on schedule so my husband can eat and get to work. For this, I will create an hour by hour timeline to make sure I get all the cooking done and table set by 3 o’clock! This is when it is great to plan ahead, create a timeline, and adjust accordingly. For some reason every year the same size and cut of meat always takes a different amount of time. I have no idea why, but knowing this I can make changes to insure my hubby gets a good meal.
Planning can drastically reduce your stress during the holidays and it can also help with your money. By having a solid plan, you can free up time and energy, plus you will know you are making the right decisions and are on track for your dreams. Even market corrections aren’t a bad thing when you have a good plan because they are already built into your plan. Planning can give you confidence knowing you are doing everything you need to be doing and clarity over what the end game is whether it’s retiring happily ever after or putting together a gorgeous and delicious holiday meal.
I have also decided to delegate this year! My father and father in law are in charge of my little daschund and the grandmothers are in charge of Andie. My hubby will be sleeping most of the day to get ready for his overnight shift, so I will need as much help as possible. My father will make sure every wine glass is constantly full, one of his many talents. My mother-in-law will help with our raviolis and my mother will get all the appetizers out and then put away nice and neatly. It really helps to include everyone, and it makes it more fun!
What parts of your holidays can you delegate? It will save you time and money in the end, which you can always have more of during the holidays. And what parts of your finances can you delegate out? Hire an advisor to make sure you are doing everything you need to with your money. Find an estate attorney to get your estate document in order so you don’t leave your family with a huge burden of a messy estate.
And lastly, we are going to adjust when we open gifts. We will do our “Christmas morning” on Christmas Eve morning, and this is my recommendation to you. Finding the times when you can tweak your plan to enjoy the holidays more. And what areas with your finances need some adjustments? As you go through the stages of life, your money needs change and will need new strategies. As the markets change, your investments can use some tweaking as well. Having a good team in place can help insure this happens.
Jessica Weaver, CFP®, CDFA™, CFS®